Differences

We are rapidly approaching the baseline ultrasound for this IVF cycle.  Which means I have been thinking a lot about the things that I plan to do differently this time around.

The first one is to be more forthright with my doctor.  I have a meeting with him on Thursday to discuss ICSI (I have my reservations on it), the anti-depressants I am taking, my mental health (I want a doctor’s note for bed rest after the transfer), I want to discuss transferring more than two embryos (assuming we even get more than 2 that are good to go!), and I want confirmation that if the IVF is successful they will monitor me at the clinic as a high risk pregnancy (meaning frequent beta tests until 7 weeks, ultrasounds at 7, 9 & 11 weeks and the Harmony Test).  I know it is a lot of “I want” in that paragraph. I think for $10,000, I am entitled to a few demands.

After the baseline, I am going to stop drinking until the first beta. Which means this upcoming weekend is going to be fun.  I will do the same with caffeine but I am already at a one tall Americano a week anyway so that’s not a huge change.

I am going to drink half the amount of water I did last time before the retrieval (and the transfer).  Both times, my bladder was “too full” but the doc carried on anyway and I was in incredible pain before, during and after both procedures.

I am going to bring the “prayer blanket” my mom’s friends made for me to the transfer for the recovery period.

I am not going to let the embryologist intimidate me.  I will be writing down the daily results, asking questions and we will be waiting until Day 5.  Even our doctor supports us on that one.

I am going to schedule an event for every day of the two week wait.  I am not even going to bother with lists, I am just going to schedule the heck out of my life.

I am going to mediate everyday once the injections start.

I am going to believe that not only will this work, that I will carry this baby to term.  untitled

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Decisions.

January has been a big month for fertility decisions.

At the beginning of the month we attended a seminar on domestic adoption.  It was a full two day event and a very emotionally intense couple of days.  The seminar itself warrants its own post (or several) but in conclusion, we have given ourselves two months to reflect and talk about whether or not we want to proceed with domestic adoption. In the meantime, we plan to attend an information session on international adoption.

We attended the seminars at the advice of my psychologist who told us we need to evaluate adoption while we still feel like we have options.  As she put it, we don’t want to look at each other in 10 years and say “Why didn’t we look into adoption again?” because that could very quickly lead to blame and resentment.

We were also offered another fresh IVF cycle.  Which means the decision we were putting off now had to be made.

In the end, we have decided to proceed with another cycle and the Suprefact starts next week.

We did an old-fashioned pros and cons list but what it boiled to was that we might as well do this while we have the money and jobs as the economy is not getting any better and I am not getting any younger. It makes me angry, the money component.  After this cycle we will have spent the equivalent of what we intend to spend on my DH’s MBA on trying to get pregnant.

It’s a pretty tough pill to swallow.

 

2015 Can Kiss My A**

*Warning: language alert*  If you are offended by swearing, don’t read any further but do read this article.

Goodbye 2015. I fucking hated you and you were the worst year of my life.

2015 was filled with loss – not just our angel babies but also family members and friendships. It was a year of immense heartbreak.

There were issues, challenges and changes at work and the latter half of the year saw the constant worry of layoffs.

There were situations with our families in various forms that tested the relationships and while some have survived, others have not.

Our circle of friends has struggled too – with layoffs, family issues, illness and more. Consequently, we have struggled with how to be there for them when we are barely managing to look after ourselves.

Our vacations, Christmas and New Year’s were all tainted by “what should have been” or by the miscarriages happened days before we left.

We both hit rock bottom.  It took different forms but for me, 2015 broke me.  It beat me down and 2015 has changed me.  I feel as though I no longer have the mental strength or resilience to manage anymore.  I received a kind note from a former colleague who was sorry to hear of our recent challenges through reading our blog.  He said “You’re a light to all those who know you…a spark plug of energy, and it is infectious.”  I laughed out loud.  I barely remember that version of myself and I doubt anyone would say that now.  How sad.

Please don’t be one of those people that comment and say “be thankful for what you have” or “there had to be some good things that happened” or “at least you have your health/job/insert something you think I should be grateful for”.  You didn’t live my life and I didn’t live yours.  Of course there are people out there who are suffering and who have it “worse” than I do.  My hubby and I chose to deal with that by giving very generously to the organizations that help those people and we have made a point of doing so this year.

But their problems don’t make my problems go away and it doesn’t change the fact I still hate 2015.  It was a terrible year.

Tomorrow will bring a new year, a new day and some new revelations and resolutions.

Until then, 2015 you can kiss my ass good-bye.

With Grace

“You have been through so much and you have handled it with grace”. That’s what our Fertility Doctor said to us on December 15 and it was probably one of the nicest things he could have said – given the circumstances.

You see, we were accepted for our frozen embryo transfer in mid-November and it started with my old friend Suprefact five times a day. Very inconvenient if you have a professional job that requires meetings.

We decided not to tell anyone because everything would happen to close to Christmas and there are already so many emotions around this time of year, why add to the pile?! We are also tired of being the pity case. Tired of “helpful” advice and tired of having to share our never-ending bad news. We wanted this to be just us for a while.

After my period it was more Suprefact, low dose aspirin and some estrogen until my lining ultrasound the second week of December. Everything looked great and the estrogen was increased steadily over the next few days and they threw in some progesterone too. My purse was already a pharmacy, what’s a bit more? Nevermind the fact it’s vaginal progesterone 3 times a day. Sigh.

The transfer was scheduled for December 15 and we both took a vacation day. To say that we were cautiously optimistic would be an understatement. My acupuncturist was scheduled to come for the post transfer treatment. Everything was lining up perfectly.

And then the embryologist called.

He was exceptionally sorry to inform us that neither embryo survived the thawing process and there would not be a transfer today. Instead, we needed to come in and see our doctor.

Shock.

That’s really the only word for it.

We went to see our Fertility Doctor who was at a loss for words.  90% of all embryos survive the thawing process…but neither of ours did. Statistically speaking that’s rather incredible. For all the wrong reasons.

He spent a lot of time with us. He actually left, saw another patient, and then came back. He went through everything in our file. Every test, every result and every procedure. Everything is fine. Nothing is stellar but everything is where it should be or “pretty good”.

He told us he doesn’t know what to suggest anymore. We could do a chromosome testing IVF but he wouldn’t recommend that because it involves freezing and thawing again. We could do another IVF but there isn’t anything that can be done to increase our chances because our results last time were “pretty good” (not great but good). He would not recommend donors (sperm or egg) because ours are fine.  He wouldn’t recommend surrogacy because I do not fit the criteria (and it’s not really a thing here anyways). After all, I can get pregnant and I have been three times. There is nothing to suggest someone else could carry them further. Our antibodies are fine, our chromosomes are fine and my uterus is textbook.

He told us to go home and think about what we want to do and so that’s what we are doing.

As we move from one year to another New Year around the corner, it is already a time for reflection anyway.

Giving Up the Sauce

If you know me at all, you know I like my wine.  I enjoy drinking wine and have come to love trying new bottles, experimenting with pairing it with food and expanding my knowledge and my palate.

Which is why this decision did not come easily….I have decided to stop drinking.

As a celiac I don’t drink much beer (gluten free beer is truly horrible) and I am not really a fan of hard liquor so giving up wine means giving up drinking.

Up until now I have continued to drink (at various levels) through my fertility journey (minus the times I have been pregnant), but I have decided that in preparation for what may come in the New Year, I would like to stop drinking.

My acupuncturist tells me it consumes vital Qi.  My tummy and thighs tell me it is keeping me chubby.  My brain says, “it is time”.

Why now? Why not after New Year’s or as a January resolution? Well, I think if I can get through the holidays without drinking I will have a better chance of being able to sustain the habit into the New Year.   Also, I shared two fabulous bottles yesterday – a gorgeous Chateauneuf-de-Pape and then later beautiful Pinot Noir – and I think you should always leave the party when you are having the most fun.

Let’s go out on a high note 🙂

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If Only

If Baby 2 (whom we named Daisy) had survived, she would have been born sometime around this week or next.

She was our IVF baby and we were elated that the IVF had been successful. The IVF process itself had not been pleasant for me. But that’s another post.

The fertility clinic books the 7 week ultrasound for you. You get to go to a special part of the radiology clinic (all in the same building). I was terrified. Once you have been there before, you know The Fear. Most people think they are scared, but it doesn’t happen to them so they don’t really ever know  The Fear.  Or their miscarriage happens with bleeding. Not a lot of people get to experience an ultrasound where you are told there is no heartbeat without any warning. Trust me when I say this. And once it happens to you, there is no turning back. No period in time where you will ever not have The Fear.

The Tech was kind and she did the ultrasound and quietly told us she could not see a heartbeat. We asked for the measurements and it was measuring exactly the right size. There is no grey area with measurements when it is IVF, you know the gestational age to just about the hour. The radiologist came in and told us that he believed it was a missed miscarriage. But because the baby was the right size we asked to see our fertility clinic doctor.

Our doctor said the same thing.

We asked to wait another week and they reluctantly agreed and scheduled another ultrasound for a week later.

I worked that week. I honestly can’t tell you what I even did. I think I was busy. I think I was even efficient – in between intermittent crying periods – because I was dying inside. I was empty.

A week later the tech barely bothered to do a proper ultrasound. The fetal pole was gone. The dead tissue absorbed into the sac. A confirmed fetal demise.

The options were presented, a D&C or try to pass it myself with misoprostol. They push the misoprostol (after all it is non-surgical) and it had worked with the first miscarriage so I decided to try it again.

We had guests come that weekend, it was just before Easter. I don’t recommend houseguests when having a miscarriage. I did the first round and passed a bit of blood, clots and tissue. I went for an ultrasound the next morning at the clinic. The sac was still there. I was given a second round. It is supposed to work with two doses for 80% of people. I didn’t pass anything. We have the most amazing luck with statistics, only it never seems work for lottery tickets.

Next ultrasound and it was clear that the sac was still there.   Misoprostol round 3.

I tried everything with round 3. A hot bath, Advil, cinnamon, you name it.   And still nothing passed.

It was this moment where I stopped believing in God. I am sorry if that offends you.

Three rounds of sitting on the toilet with cramping and pain and waiting for my large blood clot to pass so I can flush my baby down the toilet. And still nothing.

Sunday I was put on alert for an emergency D&C. Monday morning I was instructed to go and sit in emergency. 9 hours later I was discharged from the hospital. D&C completed. Baby gone and over $10,000 poorer with nothing to show for it.

We left two days later for Hong Kong. I continued to pass blood and have excruciating cramps during our four days of sight-seeing. The heat and humidity made everything worse. Sometimes I had to go back to the hotel and just sleep. We then travelled to Bali where we had booked an incredible private villa with our pool. A pool I wasn’t allowed to go in, near an ocean I couldn’t swim in for fear of infection.   What a tragic f**king joke.

I wonder what she would have looked like, our Daisy.

Wonder

Bad Luck

Please stop asking me why.

I know, it is easier for those left behind to cling to why.  Everyone wants a reason for tragic events.

You can trust us that no one wants an answer more than we do and we don’t have one so please stop asking why.  Because “why” implies there was  something we could have done.  If we knew why then we can say, “oh next time I won’t eat green beans” or some other silly thing we can cling to with false hope.  But ultimately there is no answer and there is no reason why. Something was wrong with the fetus.  The body aborted it.  End of story.  End of our hopes and dreams for the third time.  If  you think that’s hard to understand, imagine being us.  Or any couple that lost a baby too soon.

It is a statistical game and one that we are very bad at (or good, depending on how you look at the world).  1 in 6 couples have unexplained infertility.  20% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage.  There was a 5% chance we would miscarry after the BFP following our IVF cycle.  We had a 5% chance of miscarriage after seeing the heartbeat at 7 weeks.

Five F**king percent.  We are very good at being that minority.

I wish there was a 5% chance of winning the lottery.